Tuesday CoronaBuzz, January 4, 2022: 51 pointers to updates, health information, research news, and more.

Please get a booster shot. Please wear a mask when you’re inside with a bunch of people. Much love.


BBC: China: Xi’an residents in lockdown trade for food amid shortage. “Some residents under quarantine in the Chinese city of Xi’an have resorted to bartering supplies in recent days, as worries of food shortages continue. Posts on social media show residents swapping supplies and even tech gadgets in exchange for food. About 13 million have been confined to their homes since 23 December, and presently cannot leave to buy food.”

KFGO: Omicron estimated to be 95.4% of coronavirus variants in U.S., CDC says. ” The Omicron variant was estimated to be 95.4% of the coronavirus strains circulating in the United States as of Jan. 1, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Tuesday. The variant has swiftly spread across the country since its detection on Dec. 1, replacing Delta as the dominant strain and sparking a new wave of infections that pushed daily cases near the 1 million mark on Monday.”


CNN: Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene says Facebook blocked her account for 24 hours. “The congresswoman reacted to the temporary Facebook ban through her Telegram account, writing, ‘Facebook has joined Twitter in censoring me.’ A spokesperson for Meta, Facebook’s parent company, said Facebook removed one of Greene’s posts about Covid-19.”

Poynter: Claims that six-month Pfizer data show its COVID-19 vaccine causes more illness than it prevents are false. “A headline widely shared on Facebook alleges that Pfizer’s own data show that the company’s COVID-19 vaccine causes more harm than good…. The actual data from Pfizer does not support any such claim.”


WABC: New York adjusts patient intake reporting amid COVID hospitalization surge. “Amid mounting concern over surging hospitalization numbers, the state of New York is adjusting the way patients are admitted. Starting today hospitals have to clarify if patients with COVID came in for COVID symptoms or for something else. That’s because a number of those hospitalized for COVID in the last few weeks only found out they had it after being admitted for a separate issue.”


WLBT: Miss. Pediatricians urge school mask policies, vaccinations amid rise in COVID-19 infections. “As COVID-19 cases surge to record numbers in the state, pediatrician members of the Mississippi Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics (MSAAP) are reiterating their strong recommendation that schools and child care facilities implement school-wide mask policies for staff and students older than 2 years of age, in alignment with guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, to help keep children and staff in school.”

HCP Live: Gastrointestinal Symptoms Linked to Severe COVID-19 Outcomes in Pediatric Patients. “Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, severe gastrointestinal symptoms has been common in children with COVID-19, but it is unknown what the frequency and clinical outcomes of these gastrointestinal symptoms are and why pediatric patients are impacted more than adults. There have also been studies that show 15% of pediatric patients with COVID-19 present with diarrhea, particularly in infancy. Vomiting (10%) or abdominal pain (8%) also have a higher frequency in school-aged children.”


CBS Chicago: Advocate Aurora Health Sees Hundreds Of Hospitalizations As COVID Cases Increase. “The massive increase in COVID cases is straining the health care system. Across the 26 hospitals in the Advocate Aurora Health System, nearly 1,500 patients are in the hospital right now fighting COVID. That’s double the number from last month and quadruple the number from 60 days ago.”

Denver Post: Omicron hasn’t overwhelmed Colorado hospitals despite “unprecedented” surge, but little capacity is left. “Since the fast-spreading new omicron variant is less severe than the once-dominant delta, Colorado’s current COVID-19 situation is precarious, rather than catastrophic. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reported 50,974 new coronavirus infections statewide in the week ending Sunday, a 75% increase over the prior week — and a tally that blows past the state’s single-week record of 37,804 set in November 2020.”

ITV: Covid: Critical incidents declared at several hospital trusts as Omicron hits staff numbers. “Critical incidents have been declared at several NHS trusts in the past five days, with at least 14 hospitals now responding to reduced staff numbers. The Omicron variant of Covid is said to be causing mass absences across a range of industries, with the government forecasting that 25% of workforces could be forced into self-isolation by the fast-spreading strain.”

KFOR: COVID-19 hospitalizations surpass 1,000 in Oklahoma. “Health officials say more than 1,000 Oklahomans were in the hospital on average over the past three days with COVID-19. On Tuesday, data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health shows that the state has had 720,961 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since March of 2020.”


Reuters: Armani to cancel January men’s, haute couture shows due to COVID-19 surge. ” Italian fashion house Giorgio Armani said on Tuesday it would cancel its men’s and haute couture shows scheduled in January due to the surge in COVID-19 infections in Europe. The men’s fall/winter 2022-23 show was due to take place during Milan’s Fashion week while the haute couture runway was expected in Paris.”


Smithsonian Institution: Smithsonian Announces Modified Schedule for Museums and National Zoo Jan. 5–17. “The Smithsonian is preparing for unprecedented staff shortages in the coming weeks due to the surge in COVID-19 cases. To accommodate these shortages, the Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C., and the National Zoo will operate on a modified schedule from Wednesday, Jan. 5, through Monday, Jan. 17, reducing the days of operation at some museums and closing two museums during this period.”


Reuters: Starbucks says U.S. workers must get COVID-19 vaccine or tests. “Starbucks Corp will require its U.S. workers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or undergo weekly testing in order to comply with new federal mandates, the company said in an update sent to employees on Monday.”

11 Alive: Metro Atlanta restaurants struggle with staffing shortages amid omicron surge. “Businesses across metro Atlanta are feeling the impact of surging COVID-19 infections as Georgia set pandemic records for new cases back-to-back last week. The unprecedented numbers are forcing restaurants to adapt yet again.”

WFAA: After latest COVID surge, a Dallas bar shuts down for the month of January. “With omicron cases on the rise, a Dallas bar made the decision to shut down for the month of January. The owner of Alexandre’s in Oak Lawn says it’s the right move for his bar and the community.”

Reuters: COVID-19 loss of $44 billion is 3rd largest catastrophe cost to insurers – Howden. “Insured losses of $44 billion from COVID-19 so far represent the third largest cost to insurers of any catastrophe, behind Hurricane Katrina and the 9/11 attacks, insurance broker Howden said on Tuesday.”


NBC News: U.S. reaches 1 million daily Covid cases amid spread of omicron variant. “The United States hit 1 million new Covid-19 cases on Monday, according to data compiled by NBC News, underscoring the threat of the omicron variant as the third year of the pandemic gets underway.”

Law .com: ‘An Alarming Surge of COVID-19’: Central District of California Halts Jury Trials for 3 Weeks. “The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California on Monday suspended jury trials through Jan. 24, citing “an alarming surge of COVID-19 cases,” including inside its own courthouses. ‘Given the increased rate of transmission of COVID-19 in the Central District of California due to the Omicron variant, conducting jury trials would place court personnel, attorneys, parties, and prospective jurors at undue risk,’ according to the order, which warns the suspension ‘may be extended as necessary.'”

Dayton Daily News: U.S. Sen Rob Portman announces breakthrough COVID case. “U.S. Sen Rob Portman announced Tuesday that he tested positive for COVID-19.”

Reuters: CDC to clarify COVID-19 testing guidance for ending quarantine – U.S. surgeon general. “The U.S. Centers for Disease Control will issue a clarification on the role of COVID-19 testing related to a shortened five-day quarantine period for those testing positive for the virus, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said on Tuesday.”

Washington Post: Congress’ doctor wants ‘maximal telework’ amid virus surge. ” Congress’ top doctor urged lawmakers Monday to move to a ‘maximal telework posture,’ citing ‘unprecedented’ numbers of COVID-19 cases at the Capitol that he said are mostly breakthrough infections of people already vaccinated.”

King5: Reports: Biden to double purchase of Pfizer COVID-19 pills, US will buy 20 million. “The Biden administration plans to double the U.S. government’s order for Pfizer’s antiviral COVID-19 pill, with the new order set up for 20 million treatment courses, according to reports.”


Reuters: Israeli study finds fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine boosts antibodies five-fold – PM Bennett. “A fourth dose of COVID-19 vaccine boosts antibodies fivefold a week after the shot is administered, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Tuesday, citing preliminary findings of an Israeli study.”

Reuters: Sweden sets new daily COVID-19 case record as fourth wave mounts. “Sweden set a new daily record for COVID-19 cases, registering 11,507 cases on Dec. 30, health agency data showed on Tuesday as a fourth wave of the virus mounted across the country.”

Reuters: Swedish King and Queen test positive for COVID-19. ” Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia have tested positive for COVID-19, the palace said in a statement on Tuesday. ‘The King and Queen, who are fully vaccinated with three injections, have mild symptoms and are feeling well, given the circumstances,’ the palace said in a statement.”

BBC: Yuzhou: Second Chinese city forced into Covid lockdown. “China has put a second city into total lockdown after just three asymptomatic Covid cases were discovered. Yuzhou – which has a population of 1.1 million – saw its transport system shut down and all but essential food stores closed overnight. It follows a similar lockdown in Xi’an, where 13 million have been confined to their homes since 23 December.”


WCNC: NC sets new COVID-19 case record over the holiday weekend. “According to data from the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services, North Carolina has set a new COVID-19 case record over the holiday weekend, reporting nearly 20,000 new infections on New Year’s Day. The two-week average daily case rise is nearing 10,000, marking a new record surge in cases for the state.”

Daily Leader: MS Chief Justice issues emergency court order regarding COVID-19. “Mississippi Supreme Court Chief Justice Mike Randolph has issued an emergency order extending the time for COVID-19 safeguards in all courts and giving individual judges discretion to postpone jury trials scheduled through Jan. 14.”

New York Attorney General: Attorney General James Issues Warnings to EZ Test NY and Keep Health Safe to Stop Misrepresenting Turnaround Times for COVID-19 Test Results. “New York Attorney General Letitia James yesterday issued two warning letters to two companies facilitating coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) testing — EZ Test NY (a Brooklyn-based collection center) and Keep Health Safe (a Fort Lee, New Jersey-based collection center) — for not meeting promised turnaround times for test results.”

WJLA: Hogan issues state of emergency after COVID surge, National Guard deployed for test sites. “Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has ordered a 30-day state of emergency, citing a 500% spike in hospitalizations over the last few weeks. The governor said the decision was made in light of the recent COVID-19 case surge and its variants. Hogan said the next 4-6 weeks will be the toughest on Marylanders, even implying that hospitalizations related to the coronavirus could reach 5,000.”

Greater New Milford Spectrum: Lamont: Connecticut schools to stay open despite record COVID surge. “Gov. Ned Lamont and other top state officials on Tuesday voiced their unwavering commitment to in-person learning for students despite an unprecedented surge in COVID infections and recent school closures and delays. Lamont, along with the state’s education and public health commissioners, attempted on Tuesday to instill confidence in parents and educators as they reiterated their commitment to in-person learning.”

Mississippi Free Press: Mississippi Begins 2022 Awash In COVID-19, Hospitalization Data Mixed. “Omicron continues to wash over Mississippi unrestrained, driving increased case counts and hospitalizations. But data from the University of Mississippi Medical Center support early hopes that the disease may have a milder course of disease in aggregate, but not for every individual.”


The Record: CDTA busses equipped with air-purification system to fight COVID. “[Capital District Transportation Authority] is continuing to take important steps to keep employees and customers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. In CDTA’s latest effort, all buses are now equipped with a commercial-grade air purification system that uses Photohydroionization® Cell (PHI-Cell®) technology to clean the air, the organization announced in a press release.”

Dallas Morning News: Nearly 200 Dallas police and Fire-Rescue workers quarantined in latest COVID-19 surge. “Close to 200 Dallas police and fire workers are quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19 as cases of the omicron variant surge, according to both departments Monday. More than three-quarters of the infected first responders, 155, are Dallas Fire-Rescue workers. It’s the highest number of fire staff out at one time, said Jason Evans, a Fire-Rescue spokesman.”


Times and Democrat: South Carolina resident gets ‘second chance’ after COVID-19. “Monsherrie Brown considers herself a walking miracle after surviving a near-fatal struggle with COVID-19. She says the medical personnel at the Regional Medical Center saved her.”

NPR: 700 sheep and goats were arranged in the shape of a syringe to encourage vaccinations. “Tasty bits of bread did the trick for about 700 sheep and goats to join Germany’s drive to encourage more people to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The animals were arranged on Monday into the shape of a roughly 330-foot syringe in a field at Schneverdingen, south of Hamburg. Shepherd Wiebke Schmidt-Kochan spent several days practicing with her animals, news agency dpa reported.”


WSOC: Whoopi Goldberg tests positive for COVID-19. “The actress, comedian and talk show host missed Monday’s episode of ‘The View,’ with co-host Joy Behar saying Goldberg has mild symptoms.”

Entertainment Tonight: Jimmy Fallon Talks Testing Positive for COVID, Says Daughters Got It Too. “Jimmy Fallon is opening up about testing positive for COVID over the holidays. After sharing a photo to Instagram of himself sitting in a testing room at NBC on Instagram, Fallon also discussed the experience during Monday’s The Tonight Show. The 47-year-old late night host tested positive for the virus on the first day of the network’s holiday break.”


Daily Beast: California Deputy DA Who Fought Vaccine Mandate Dies Abruptly After Falling Ill With COVID at Age 46. “A deputy district attorney and up-and-coming Republican political star in California’s Orange County has died abruptly after telling friends she contracted COVID-19. Kelly Ernby, a presumed candidate for the state Assembly in 2022, was only 46 years old. According to the Los Angeles Times, she fell ill shortly after speaking out against vaccine mandates at a rally organized by Turning Point USA on Dec. 4.”


Belleville News-Democrat: Southwest Illinois schools adapt to COVID surges, including return to remote learning. “Some school districts in the metro-east are changing their learning plans as students return from winter break, to curb the spread of COVID from the omicron variant and travel over the holidays. New daily COVID case numbers in Illinois are at an all-time high, according to data from the Illinois Department of Public Health, and every county in the state is considered to have high transmission.”

Fayetteville Observer: Cumberland County Schools to continue in-person learning despite rise in COVID cases. “Classes in Cumberland County Schools will continue in person as planned this week, following that recommendation from Superintendent Marvin Connelly Jr.”

WHDH: More than 1K Boston Public Schools teachers, staff call out sick on district’s first day of classes after holiday break. “More than 1,000 Boston Public Schools teachers and staff members called out sick Tuesday on the district’s first day of classes following the holiday break. A total of 461 teachers, about 1,000 staff members, and 52 bus drivers phoned in with an illness, according to BPS Superintendent Brenda Cassellius.”


WKRC: NKU pushes back beginning of spring classes due to COVID surge. “Northern Kentucky University is delaying its spring semester due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in the Tri-State. Classes will now begin on Tuesday, Jan. 18. Faculty are also encouraged to include fewer in-person activities in their classes.”

Austin American-Statesman: University of Texas reports record-high COVID-19 case count amid omicron surge. “The University of Texas reported a record high number of COVID-19 cases among students, staff and faculty on Monday. UT reported 108 positive COVID-19 student cases and 25 faculty and staff cases on Monday, according to the university’s COVID-19 dashboard. All tests were administered on Monday.”


Burnley Express: Thousands injured by unusual activities during Covid lockdowns. “DIY, new pets and playground equipment were behind many of the hospitalisations, according to analysis of the figures by the PA news agency. Cases of people getting struck by lightning also rose dramatically, while there were hundreds of cases caused by people falling out of trees.”

Inform NY: Expired COVID-19 tests could skew results. ” The year 2022 has kicked off with another major surge in coronavirus cases. Because of this, doctors say testing is as crucial as ever. ‘The only way to know for certain if you’ve got a cold or the flu or COVID-19 is to be tested,’ said Dr. Brad Fuller with Central Ohio Primary Care. But there is something to look out for on those at-home tests: expiration dates.”

ABS-CBN News: ‘Flurona’: COVID, flu co-infections not unusual, expert says. “A co-infection with the influenza virus and coronavirus is not unusual, a health specialist said Monday, after Israel reported its first case of the ‘flurona’ infection in a pregnant woman.”


Pharmacy Times: Study Shows Cancer Patients Overlooked in COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout. “A new study found that approximately two-thirds of the United States failed to prioritize patients with cancer for COVID-19 vaccinations, despite recommendations from the CDC, according to a study presented at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.”

Medical Xpress: COVID-19 and PTSD: Assessing the pandemic’s toll on mental health. “Illness, grief, job loss, social isolation, uncertainty, and other pandemic-driven stressors have contributed to an increase in psychological distress on an unusually wide scale. As researchers and clinicians continue to grapple with the psychological fallout from COVID-19, a growing body of literature has examined the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in the general public.”


CBS 12: Man accused of orchestrating $4.2M COVID relief fraud scheme. “Federal prosecutors say a South Florida man tried to obtain more than $4.2 million in COVID-19 relief funds by filing false loan applications. Court records show that 27-year-old Valesky Barosy made his first appearance last week in Fort Lauderdale federal court.”

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